Yesterday I heard someone complain that they don’t like it that the kids these days are sometimes doing nice things just because they want to be cool. I mean, I’m paraphrasing here, but that’s pretty much what it boiled down to. I’m going to have to disagree. Aside from the fact that “I helped raise money for victims of natural disasters before it was cool” sounds like the punchline of a terrible meta ironic hipster joke, I can’t really see the downside to community organizing and caring about your neighbors becoming trendy (some of you are going to start thinking greenwashing and I totally went there too because I’m a hardened cynic who doesn’t know how to be happy but that’s another topic for another time).
I can see it now… a family displaced by flooding or earthquake damage or evicted after a draining legal battle with the bank that may or may not own their house and unable to wait for disaster relief or government aid due to massive credit card debt sits in a hotel room funded with the help of some high school kid who wanted to feel like they did something worth bragging about on summer vacation. The camera zooms in on the mother making a sandwich for her son and a reporter asks “So how are you coping after what happened?” “Well,” she replies, while screwing the lid back on a jar of peanut butter, “It’s really fantastic that our friends and family and our entire neighborhood came to our aid when we needed it the most. The only thing I worry about is those darn young people letting it change their priorities in life. It’s just terrible that people who might not normally want to help started down this path because of peer pressure, you know? Next thing you know they’ll be thinking about going vegan or mentoring children in after school programs.”